The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and its president, Randi Weingarten, are quick to invoke politics. Another demonstration of their political instinct is their celebration of “Teacher Appreciation Week.” Instead of focusing on teachers and the importance of quality education, the union blamed “baseless political attacks” which makes teachers’ “jobs even more difficult, attacks that are driving far too many out of the profession for good.”
In their press release, the teachers’ union added that teachers are “the tenders of our democracy.”
But AFT ignored how teachers left the profession because of the mental and psychological strain of school shutdowns, remote and virtual classes, and high student absences during the pandemic. These policies were pushed by unions like AFT, contrary to their claims in the present day, which policies ultimately drove teachers to early retirement or to move on from the classroom.
Here is the text of the press release:
“Everyone has a story about a teacher who changed their lives, a teacher who saw them for who they were, who cared enough to go the extra mile when they didn’t understand something, who forever instilled a love of learning in their lives. This week—and every week—we must honor America’s educators for the work they do to ensure children, our next generation, are receiving the care and instruction they need, so they can seize the opportunity to excel and thrive.
“From science, history and reading, to problem-solving and developing evidence, teachers are entrusted to provide students with the knowledge and supports they need to become well-rounded members of society. Unfortunately, across the country, teachers are facing innumerable obstacles and baseless political attacks that make their jobs even more difficult, attacks that are driving far too many out of the profession for good.
“Teachers’ deep commitment to bettering the lives of others is truly remarkable. Every day, they follow their passion to prepare every child—regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic background—for what the future holds. If we really value our teachers, instead of culture wars and educational gag orders, give them the autonomy to teach and to meet students’ needs, and give students the conditions to learn. Pay people a decent wage. This is our future; educators need to be treated as the nurturers of our children and the tenders of our democracy.”